Detachment 13 offers resources for aircraft maintenance training

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
An Air Education and Training Command detachment with approximately 35 instructors across 15 Air Force Specialty codes, is Nellis and Creech AFBs' primary technical training source for aircraft maintenance training.

Providing specialized advanced training, Detachment 13, 372nd Training Squadron, based out of Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, supports three wings across Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases; however, that does not include the various temporary duty assignments instructors go on or the many TDY students that travel to Det. 13 for classes.

"Our primary mission is quite large," said Jennifer Richardson, Det. 13 372nd TRS propulsions system instructor. "We help Air Force wide. We have instructors that go TDY to Japan or Europe and just teach. We also train other instructors at different bases so they can provide the training there as well.

"We teach Airmen in detail to give them a better understanding of what they are going to do in the real world, whereas technical school teaches just the basics," said Richardson. "Think of tech school as you are building with Lego's. You are taught that this Lego can fit on this Lego, but here we're giving you the entire picture and the blueprints on how to build things."

Class sizes at Detachment 13 range from one to eight students, allowing instructors to provide individualized and focused training. Classes at the detachment also account for a part of upgrade training for incoming and experienced Airmen in aircraft maintenance career fields.

"I am an electrical environmental system specialist and my first base was McGuire AFB, (New Jersey) where I worked on C-141's in the back shop," said Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Kramer, Det. 13 372nd TRS detachment chief. "Well, I received orders to Misawa Air Base, Japan to work on F-16s. I got there, I got processed in and I start getting a general knowledge of the airframe. Electrical is electrical but the systems are different, so I went to a (field training detachment) and they taught me more specifics and how things specifically worked for that airframe."

Det. 13 doesn't just teach classes, they assist in creating them as well.

"AETC creates courses to teach Airmen the skills they need," said Richardson. "Well we have the F-35 and that's pretty new. We actually have instructors that are very hands on with making corrections and upgrades and we'll get courses down and the instructors will make their corrections based on their input."

According to Richardson, the unit is an all-inclusive detachment.

"We don't have any other agencies coming in and doing our additional duties, we all do it here," said Richardson. "We have additional things that we are required to maintain. So for me, I am the production supervisor here so I do all the scheduling of the classes and managing the instructor's time as far as that goes.

"For a regular class like I am teaching right now, for the first few days it is pretty standard across the board in the classroom. We'll teach you theory of operation, component identification, and basic information and then we'll go into the engine bay or out on the flightline and we'll do hands on. So we give you a well-rounded experience here."

On top of all the maintenance training Det. 13 offers, they also offer other specialized courses that are opened to the base populace.

"So one of the courses that we have is Principles of Instruction," said Richardson. "We're not the only ones on base who teach. We teach college-level courses and Airmen are getting credits for it, but other people teach things. Security forces teach how to train their dogs and you have medical personnel that teach how to administer shots. Everybody teaches something and if you want to be really good at it we offer a course that is two-weeks long where we teach you how to speak in public, create lesson plans, create a class for your career field, and it's offered pretty much every month with a max of 10 students.

"We also teach our PAE guys, so the ones that work in the back shop if we have a class built and we have extra seats we'll open it up to them too, we're not under contract to supply them with training but it helps them out too which also helps the base. So we're very generous, we'll train anybody."

Det. 13 is the second busiest training detachment, instructing over 90 courses across eight air frames every year.

"The diversity here makes this detachment unique," said Kramer. "Most bases will have one or two airframes, so Misawa AB has F-16s that's it, so their detachment is seven or eight people. I just came from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst so I know they have two airframes, C-17s and KC10s. This is the largest as far as airframes goes because our detachment covers eight airframes. I think there are detachments out there that are larger in size but not diversity."